Biden announces limited gun restrictions as pressure rises following mass shootings

Facing pressure to act after a recent spate of high-profile mass shootings, Pr...

Posted: Apr 8, 2021 11:39 AM
Updated: Apr 8, 2021 11:39 AM

Facing pressure to act after a recent spate of high-profile mass shootings, President Joe Biden unveiled a package of moves Thursday that seek to address the scourge of gun violence.

"Gun violence in this country is an epidemic," Biden said in the Rose Garden to an audience of lawmakers and Americans touched by gun violence. "And it's an international embarrassment."

The executive actions included efforts to restrict so-called "ghost guns" that can be built using parts and instructions purchased online, but are limited in scope and fall short of the steps Biden has vowed to pressure Congress to take.

They nevertheless fulfilled his pledge last month to take "common-sense" steps on his own, and one move -- more heavily regulating arm braces used to make firing a pistol more accurate -- directly relates to the March shooting in Boulder, Colorado, where such a device was used.

He also announced that he is nominating gun control advocate David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which hasn't had a permanent director in place since 2015.

Administration officials have emphasized the announcements only amount to the first steps toward addressing gun violence, with later action -- like a ban on assault weapons or rules requiring universal background checks -- requiring Congress. Biden, who is in the midst of advancing a massive infrastructure plan, has voiced uncertainty on the likelihood of passing major new gun laws.

"We've got a long way to go," he said on Thursday. "It seems like we've always got a long way to go."

West Wing moved after recent shootings

As the nation's posture on guns has evolved, Biden has been front-and-center at most every stop along the way for more than three decades, from the triumph of a 10-year ban on assault weapons in 1994 to the disappointment of a failed push for universal background checks in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.

Recent shootings in Georgia and Colorado had raised the question inside the West Wing over how much political capital Biden should expend on the matter, which has so often ended in frustration. Like former President Barack Obama, Biden has determined that executive actions are a more viable vehicle for progress given a narrowly divided Congress and a slate of other pressing priorities.

Biden "would be the first to say this is not enough," his communications director Kate Bedingfield said ahead of the announcement.

"These are sensible regulations that help ensure that some of the most dangerous elements, the most dangerous guns that are out there, won't be as easy to get and to use," Bedingfield said on CNN's "New Day."

Biden made the announcements Thursday from the Rose Garden alongside his attorney general, Merrick Garland, whose Justice Department will be responsible for drafting the proposed rules.

Rules target ghost guns and braces

Ghost guns are handmade or self-assembled firearms that don't have serial numbers. Some can be fabricated in as little as 30 minutes using kits and parts purchased online. Biden directed the Justice Department to issue a proposed rule to "stop the proliferation" of those weapons, though a senior administration official previewing the step declined to elaborate on how specifically the rule -- due in 30 days -- might work.

Another proposed rule would target stabilizing braces for pistols, which aid in the weapons' accuracy and manage recoil. Under the new rule, the devices -- which the senior administration official contended turn pistols into short barreled rifles -- would be covered by regulations in the National Firearms Act, including requiring registration. Last month's mass shooter in Boulder, Colorado, used a pistol modified with an arm brace, according to a law enforcement source.

The President also nominated Chipman to the ATF, a position that often becomes embroiled in the fraught politics of gun control. Chipman is a former ATF agent who serves as senior policy adviser at Giffords, the organization led by former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who became a gun control advocate after being shot in 2011.

Biden also announced new investments in intervention programs in violence-prone communities; a directive to the Justice Department to publish model "red flag" laws for states that allow the temporary removal of guns from people deemed at high risk of harming themselves or others; and a comprehensive report on firearms trafficking.

Taken together, the actions amount to the first real steps by Biden's administration to combat gun violence. Inside the White House, efforts to devise executive actions have been led by White House Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice and Office of Public Engagement Director Cedric Richmond, administration officials and gun safety advocacy groups told CNN.

That included meeting with some of those groups and fielding ideas for steps Biden could take on his own. Some advocates had been clamoring for steps earlier in the administration, pointing to Biden's pledge to prioritize gun control during his campaign.

This story has been updated with details from the Rose Garden announcement.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307094

Reported Deaths: 7086
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20729248
Hinds19851407
Harrison17465302
Rankin13297275
Jackson13090243
Madison9876210
Lee9849169
Jones8288160
Forrest7511146
Lauderdale7170237
Lowndes6256144
Lamar609684
Lafayette6020117
Washington5278132
Bolivar4768129
Oktibbeha455097
Panola4430103
Pearl River4414139
Warren4277118
Marshall4262100
Pontotoc416372
Monroe4055131
Union403275
Neshoba3979176
Lincoln3870107
Hancock371584
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329289
Tate322181
Pike3170104
Scott310172
Yazoo304168
Alcorn297464
Itawamba296576
Copiah292463
Coahoma289277
Simpson287384
Tippah284568
Prentiss275259
Marion265479
Wayne261341
Leake260973
Covington254380
Grenada254382
Adams245882
Newton244659
George237646
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186371
Clay182354
Stone178631
Clarke176475
Tallahatchie175140
Calhoun163130
Smith158534
Yalobusha158536
Walthall130443
Greene129333
Lawrence126123
Noxubee125833
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120726
Amite119940
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105332
Tunica102425
Claiborne101230
Benton97225
Kemper95026
Humphreys94332
Franklin81523
Quitman78516
Choctaw72816
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64427
Sharkey49517
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518234

Reported Deaths: 10686
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson752631485
Mobile37687797
Madison33784490
Tuscaloosa25231442
Montgomery23928563
Shelby23088237
Baldwin20600300
Lee15491165
Calhoun14270311
Morgan14135268
Etowah13657344
Marshall11941219
Houston10373277
Elmore9979200
Limestone9797146
Cullman9458188
St. Clair9419234
Lauderdale9196227
DeKalb8733181
Talladega8035168
Walker7083275
Jackson6751110
Autauga6710103
Blount6475134
Colbert6199129
Coffee5394112
Dale4764110
Russell426837
Franklin419782
Chilton4076109
Covington4054113
Tallapoosa3895147
Escambia387374
Dallas3523149
Chambers3496122
Clarke346160
Marion3064100
Pike305375
Lawrence295095
Winston272271
Bibb256158
Marengo248560
Geneva245875
Pickens232958
Barbour224555
Hale218775
Butler211866
Fayette208860
Henry187744
Cherokee181843
Randolph176341
Monroe171140
Washington163838
Macon154548
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124326
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter103032
Coosa98827
Greene90834
Choctaw58624
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 69°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 70°
Oxford
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 66°
Starkville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
A few bands of storms will be making their way through the area through the early morning hours. Some of these storms will bring gusty winds, lots of lightning, and potentially some hail. Luckily, this moves out by mid-morning and we eventually could see some clearing during the afternoon with highs in the mid 70s.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather